SM: Pioli impressed by Barcelona loanee on debut – more minutes will follow

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli was left impressed by the performance of Sergino Dest off the bench during last night’s draw against Red Bull Salzburg.

Dest arrived on an initial loan deal from Barcelona on transfer deadline day but was the only player out of he, Malick Thiaw, Yacine Adli and Aster Vranckx to be named in the squad list for the Champions League group stages.

Pioli made three changes just over 10 minutes into the second half when he sensed his side looking a bit overwhelmed as Divock Origi, Tommaso Pobega and Dest – the latter making his Milan debut – came on for Giroud, Bennacer and Calabria.

According to our colleagues at, Pioli greatly appreciated the speed and intensity that Dest in the 35 minutes of action he got but also his ability to assimilate what he has been taught just a few full training sessions.

That is why he aims to give him more playing time starting from the next league match against Sampdoria. Dest can play both as a full-back on the right side – therefore in place of Calabria – and also as a right winger if needed.

Tags AC Milan Sergino Dest


  1. He will be our starting RB in the following months. I think Dest is far better than Calabria.

    Still the RW issue is not resolved. Saelemekers is painful to watch. He lost most of the balls he played last night. Awful.

  2. Some of you don’t think before typing Calabria has mostly been solid defensively and hardly to beat on 1 vs 1 situation, having some bad games doesn’t justify the criticism and i think his above average in terms of rating as a RB

    1. Exactly this. Also would note that Milan have a lopsided formation to free up Hernandez and Leao going forward so the right-hand side is naturally more restrained and defensive. Calabria is a solid, dependable, hardworking top level player and a great asset to this team.

    2. Yep. Agree 100%. He makes it look so damn easy when he takes away the ball from the opponent’s feet. He even made C.Ronaldo look like an amateur during his time in Juve.

  3. Gotta love the people who said “he did nothing” just because he didn’t score a goal or assist in his debut 🤦‍♂️

    They didn’t see Dest gave Milan a faster pace on attacking after he replaced Calabria. His dribble also pretty good.

    Dest definitely will add more depth for Milan right side.

  4. I think Dest could become the next Theo, right now I don’t think he is better than Calabria but he has speed and technique he just need to improve his defensive. Also he can play LB .

  5. I thought he added the energy that Calabria was clearly running out of (and he’s started every game so far) but looked a bit tactically lost, kept attempting dribbles into dead ends and losing the ball. Obviously that will come with time, so no complaints, but I can’t imagine being particularly impressed either.

    1. Wow. Same thoughts. He definitely is out tactically which I have no doubt Pioli will improve him. But his pace and dribbling are quite good.

  6. Only kids who know nothing about football will think Dest is a better fit because they saw running and dribbling but they didn’t notice that Theo reduced bombing forwards after Dest came on, Dest was actually ruining the game play…..

    Calabria balances the defence and frees Theo which helps Theo and Leao to be more attacking, he have been the best full back in one vs one situation, a team player with a lot of grit, and it will be a mistake to think that Dest will give the same cover he does……Theo will in particular prefer to play with Calabria than Dest because we defend a counter, only our CBs will be there to defend and that’s not how we play, we play 3 at the back when Theo and Leao is free, of which Calabria is part of so Dest have alot of things to learn

    1. What do you know about football?what is the size of your boot?how many league have you played in or won….mr professor in football.😂😂😂

    2. I agree with your analysis 100%. Dest is not a good fit at the RB position for the team. Perhaps as a RW, but he also gave the ball cheaply away and defensively was positioned poorly. Calabria brings a better balance to the backline.

  7. I thought Dest was solid but frustrated me by constantly passing the ball back instead of attacking space. Admittedly, that could have been the instructions Pioli gave him but Calabria will at least pick and choose when to advance the ball forward. I am a big fan of Calabria and though he can occasionally be beat in pace by some faster forwards, he balances the team and is very competent defensively. I would like to see Dest tried out on the wing instead of Messias who unfortunately offered nothing when coming off the bench yesterday.

  8. Calabria was ok but he cant play all games and after he got yellow he was way too emotional…
    Dest looked lost in the game maybe its his age or the fact he only few days in the team but milan can make players like that great and i look forward to see him improve

  9. It’s not IF Dest is better than Calabria. Talent wise he probably is. But he has a long way to go to automatically replace Calabria who brings other i tangibles to the game. Both offer different characteristics. Dest better offensively, Calabria defensively. We will see if Dest can catch up on the defensive phase of his game. To me, when Kajer is fully fit, our best lineup for the most important games, esp CL, is Theo-Tomori-Kajer-Kalulu. Calabria is a good player but offers little going forward and lacks top end speed needed esp in CL – and because our RW is so weak moving Kalulu to RB would add an additional element going forward and crossing the ball in the box for our strikers and provide the needed cover in a back three (Tomori-Kajer-Kalulu) when Theo bombs forward. That is our best and most talented lineup for the back 4. Kajer is also excellent in the air and can distribute the ball from the back to the forwards with ease. Something Calabria struggles with. This ain’t a knock on Calabria, he’s a warrior love him. But let’s face it he’s a good player not great and certainly not at Kalulu’s level even this early in Kalulu’s career. This is what Maldini envisioned when he went for Botman. Theo-Botman-Tomori-Kalulu as Kalulu is a natural RB. Maldini knows Calabria is limited esp against better faster teams. So for me it’s not about Dest v Calabria. Dest until he proves otherwise is a solid add off the bench to backup LB and RB and maybe the occasional RW since ours are so bad. To me our best line up is the Theo Tomori Kajer Kalulu so we can get our most talented players on the pitch and add some needed offense to the Right side of the pitch where Sales and Messias offer so little. Save Calabria for Serie A games where the pace is a bit slower. CL is a different animal.

  10. Not better than calabria guys pls. He is an engine on that right flank. Solid in defense and makes a lot of runs forward. Yes he struggled the last few days but who hasnt. Except maybe a few, all our boys havent been 100%. If pioli can make a winger out of him that would be great.

  11. Calabria with shacking chicken leg, Calabria with the ball you can see he is confuuuusssseee!!!!!
    On what to do.Even after winning the league he is still 3rd choice in Italian National team.

  12. Dest needs to play RW for us. He’s far better option than Saele or Messias. I think Pioli will end up making this decision when he needs to pick our best 11 players (once Dest learns our team) for games against the likes of Juve, Napoli, Inter, Roma, Chelsea, Atalanta.
    And for those toughest games when Pioli needs to choose his best 11, he will start Kjaer and Tomori at CB and Kalulu at RB.

    Calabria will still get to play a lot at RB (because sometimes Kalulu will need rest; other times either Kjaer or Tomori will need rest and Kalulu can go back to CB).

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.